World · June 23, 2022

Your Thursday briefing – The New York Times

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, lobbied the African Union for support this week. He has faced an uphill battle, addressing leaders who have close ties to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.

Many African governments have avoided denouncing Russia, abstained from the UN votes condemning the invasion of Ukraine and called the war of no direct effect on the continent. Zelensky focused on the economic ramifications of the conflict for Africa: high food prices caused by a war between two of the world’s largest grain producers, which exacerbated food insecurity.

“Africa is effectively being taken hostage,” Zelensky said.

Background: Drought in Somalia and growing food insecurity in the Sahel region have brought into focus the consequences of rising food prices, especially wheat. The cost of fuel is also rising, further crushing the continent’s nascent middle class and urban poor.

The answer: Overall, he was submissive. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the president of the African Union, once again called for dialogue to end the war, in stark contrast to the enthusiastic audience he offered Putin earlier this month. Senegalese President Macky Sall, speaking as the current political leader of the African Union, said this month that sanctions against Russia should end, referring to Putin as his “dear friend Vladimir”.

Other news from the war in Ukraine:

  • Finland and Sweden, which asked to join NATO after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, expected quick admission to the alliance. Turkey had other ideas.


An earthquake struck a remote and mountainous part of Afghanistan yesterday, killing more than 1,000 people and injuring at least another 1,600.

The 5.9-magnitude quake struck about 28 miles southwest of the city of Khost. However, the worst damage occurred in the neighboring Paktika province, which is located along the border with Pakistan and where some residents live in houses made of clay and straw. The earthquake was the deadliest to hit Afghanistan in more than two decades and the death toll is expected to rise, a UN agency said.

Search and rescue efforts, led by the Afghan Ministry of Defense, were hampered by wind and pouring rain, which prevented the helicopters from landing safely. A United Nations representative for Afghanistan reported that nearly 2,000 homes were destroyed. Afghan families are typically large and sometimes live together, the rep said, so the earthquake is likely to have displaced many people.

Eyewitness: Sarhadi Khosti, 26, who lives in the Sperah district of Khost province, said he was awakened by the earthquake after 1am and that some houses, many of earth or wood, had been destroyed. “For now, we’re still busy pulling the dead or the injured out from under the rubble,” he said.

Pakistan: The earthquake was felt in several parts of Pakistan, but the country was spared the kind of damage seen in Afghanistan.

Government: The earthquake is just the latest challenge facing the nascent Taliban government.


Galvanized by the horror of two high-profile mass shootings in a month, 14 Republican senators joined the Democrats on Tuesday to vote to promote what may be the most significant move to review U.S. gun laws in years.

The 64-34 vote to pass the legislation suggested it had more than enough support to break a Republican filibuster, a barrier that has repeatedly blocked the most ambitious efforts to tackle gun violence. Lawmakers hope to get the measure passed in the Senate by the end of the week, with the House expected to pick it up and send it to President Biden’s desk soon after.

The details: The legislation would extend background checks and, for the first time, include serious dating partners in a law that prevents domestic abusers from purchasing firearms. The measure would also pay millions of dollars to support mental health resources and strengthen school safety.

Discussion: There is a popular saying in the United States among gun rights defenders, recently married by Senator Ted Cruz after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: “What stops the bad guns are the good guns.” But a review of the data reveals how difficult it is to stop active shooter events once they have started.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee is India’s most famous designer and arguably the most influential wedding dress maker in the world. During an era of oppressive minimalism, his clothes remained refreshingly maximalist, a celebration of Indian decorative arts. He made the sari haute and convinced Indians to see luxury in their fashion heritage, but can he convince Americans too?

When it comes to cooking, we all have to start somewhere – and for some of us, this starts with slicing an onion or breaking an egg in a pan. Maybe you just graduated from college and are on your own for the first time, or maybe you never learned how to cook. Either way, there is hope.

Nikita Richardson, an editor for the Food section of the Times, has compiled these 10 beginner recipes that can’t boil water. Arranged from easiest to hardest, they include a bowl of rice with no-bake tuna mayonnaise on the easier end and oven-roasted chicken legs with potatoes and lemons for those looking for more challenges.

With practice, repetition and patience, not only will you develop a set of skills that you can apply to other exploits in the kitchen, but you will also have 10 delicious dishes that are worth cooking over and over. Enjoy your meal! – Natasha Frost, writer of briefings

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about Biden’s approval rating.

You can contact Jonathan and the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

Lynsey Chutel and Matthew Cullen contributed to this briefing.